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April 15, 2009

Contact:  
    Lesley A. Collins
    307/261-7603

Trails Center Welcomes New Director Mike Abel:
Public invited to meet Abel at April 18 Open House

Mike Abel has been selected as the new Director for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) National Historic Trails Interpretive Center (NHTIC). Abel reported for duty at the NHTIC on April 6, 2009.

The public is invited to meet Abel at an open house on Saturday, April 18, 2009 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the NHTIC. Admission will be free during the open house.

"Mike has a passion for cultural and natural resources, and his skill in community engagement and partnerships will be a great addition to the NHTIC," said Casper Field Office Manager Joe Meyer.

Abel started his career with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources in 1979 where he managed a number of parks, conservation areas and interpretive programs. In 1992 he moved to Wyoming where he spent six years as Field Operations Manager for the Wyoming Division of State Parks and Historic Sites. Most recently Abel worked for the City of Cheyenne as Planning Services Director and Public Works Director.

According to Abel, "The NHTIC is a wonderful facility for the citizens, for Wyoming, and the country. This gateway to the past offers the opportunity to learn about and experience the life of early settlers during the mid-1800's westward migration. I'm looking forward to being a part of the BLM and Foundation team in telling the story of this great chapter of American history. The staff at the NHTIC would not be able to provide the programs and visitor services without the assistance of many dedicated volunteers and the support of the community of Casper. I'm anxious to meet everyone who has helped the NHTIC be successful."

Abel's past jobs have included management oversight of areas such as Oregon Trail Ruts, Register Cliff, Ft. Fetterman, Ft. Phil Kearney, Independence Rock, South Pass City, Ft. Bridger and other Wyoming historic sites, as well as Cheyenne's historic preservation program. "We can glimpse our future by examining the past and understanding our heritage," said Abel.

The NHTIC is a public-private partnership between the Bureau of Land Management and the National Historic Trails Center Foundation.

The BLM manages more land - 258 million acres - than any other Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western States, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.

- BLM -